It would have been ideal if all the governors had put in their papers to enable the Narendra Modi government to appoint its own nominees. After all, the governors represent the central government in the states. Logically, they should enjoy the confidence of the Centre. Though the Modi government has been nudging the governors to resign, it has not yet succeeded fully. While five have already resigned, two have completed their tenures leaving seven vacancies. The Gujarat governor, who did not have a good equation with Modi when he was chief minister, has been shifted to Mizoram. Governors of other states have been given additional charges of the states where the gubernatorial post has become vacant.
The Centre will have to end the ad hoc arrangements by appointing new governors. By now a tradition has evolved over the appointment of governors. The Congress had always seen the post as a sinecure for defeated party leaders and their hangers-on. Some posts, particularly in the Northeast, seemed to have been reserved for retired police and military officers. The appointment of Sheila Dikshit as governor of Kerala was the height of political expediency. It is easy for the BJP government to follow in the footsteps of the Congress and appoint senior party leaders, who could not be inducted in the Union ministry for one reason or another, as governors.
Instead, the Modi government should utilise the opportunity to evolve proper criteria for appointment of governors. There is no need to consider retired bureaucrats, military and police officers and judges as they had done their duty during their service periods for which they were amply rewarded. They should not even sense a claim to such posts which only encourage them to cultivate their political masters. There are critics of the office of governor which many see as unwanted and a drain on the state exchequer. But in the Constitutional scheme of things, they have an important role to play. That itself makes it obligatory that the occupants of Raj Bhavans are people of stature, integrity and wide acceptability.